Friday, July 22, 2011

Steady Progress!

It has been a while since the last post, so there is so much to report on!!! Since the last post there has been plenty of progress made, a trip back to Sanok, adventures, meeting up with old friends, saying good bye to some of our new ones, a Holocaust Survivors remembrance march, visits from the press, and much, much more. So in this mighty post you will get to see the progress made over the course of the week. But first here's a status report: all the boards are now in Rzeszow being sized and assembled into panels, all the tracings so far have been completed, new images have been generated and are ready to be printed back in the states, test boards are in the works, all the final colors are being sorted out, and, drum role please, paint hits the zodiacs!

So first, here are some pictures to give a visual of where we are at so far:
The arrival of the rest of the panel boards, these are only some of them

To help keep the boards from moving they need to be sized to seal them
The boards are laid out to dry after each side gets sized

Nick is assembling the sized boards into a panel that is a section of a dome
The Jason's are setting aside a completed panel to keep the space organized and tidy

Case is creating curriculum for the painting, so turning the pigment and painting info into a nice, easy to read reference for everyone

Cailigh is creating a full scale image that gets printed and traced onto the boards

Everyone in computer world is making progress, Morgan gets to watch a show, and Craig gets a break

Marian is working on tracing the bottom of a dome and making any adjustments based on original images
Kasia works on tracing the image of the right medallion for the West Zodiac

Tracing a corner shoulder for one of the Zodiacs.

Creating small samples of color to test, and mixing colors to be used on practice panels

A few samples of student's practice panels, and examining the palette of colors to see what ones will work best

Zofia mixes a batch of one of the base colors
Rashin and Krista explain the painting processes and how to get started

Marta is working on her own practice panel. This helps her learn how to work with the paint and creates sample to be compared to documents to help determine the most accurate colors

Here are several Practice Panels with the color tests and Handshouse's original half scale paintings

Rick and Rashin decide which blues are the right ones
  So now to explain a bit more of what happens with each step starting with...

Panels and Prep:
Once all the boards arrived at the site they needed to be sized, assembled into panels, and gessoed before any tracing and painting could be done on them

Both sides need to be sized at the same time so the boards don't cup, so they were spread out to be done all at once
This is the rabbit skin glue that is used to size and is the binder for the gesso and paint as well
After all the boards have been sized on both sides the become panel sections. To make a good panel, the are pulled tight with clamps then have batons attached to the back to hold them in place
Once they are secure panel sections they get gessoed. Krista is applying several even coats of gesso, which is a mixture of chalk, zinc oxide, and rabbit skin glue
Part of the process is also removing the numbering system from the face of the boards and transferring them to the back. Jason teaches the littlest team member, Pola, how to use a hand plane to do just that
 Images and Tracing:
The computer gets used as a tool for creating enlarged full scale images to transfer onto the ceiling boards
The images are created using a proportional scaled dimensional drawing of the boards for each section, and high resolution images of the half scale images. The half scale images were originally hand drawn from original photographs of the Gwozdziec ceiling.
This is what gets created and printed, then later traced and transferred onto the board. This process allows the image to be double checked as well as making sure there is no distortion to important geometry.
Through every adjustment these photos are referred to for scale, placement, shape and so on.
The printed images are laid out and compared to the actual boards. Sometimes there are adjustments that must be made
Emily fine tunes the shapes and geometry when she traces it, a triple check

Jason L is checking the placement of parts to make sure everything is lining up

Nick traces an individual section from the medallion of one of the bottom dome sections
Ariel and Laura create a master drawing to be used as a template for all the zodiacs. Only the medallions are different.

Practice Panels, Colors, and Painting:

Before painting on the real boards, everyone makes a Practice Panel to learn tracing, test colors, learn to work with the paint, and practice replicating the images

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What's Been Up

So even though it's only been a couple days since the first post, it has really been a few days of work. So here is a quick update of what has been happening: All the boards have been sized, almost all the panels are together, gessoing has begun and several panels are complete, tracing has begun, information is being sorted, and pigments are being sorted out and colors are being created.

Marta is working on tracing the Northwest Triangle

Laying out the printed zodiacs to figure out what does and doesn't fit

Nick, Jason and Anna make panels

Ariel and Kasia figure out where to trace on a zodiac

Checking reference photos to see what needs to be changed, if anything, in the tracing

Krista puts her new Gesso recipe to work

Meet some of the Crew

Its great to see the painting and everything come together, but who are all those people doing the work in the pictures? Those people are Laura and Rick Brown, Marie Brown, the Painting Team and all the amazing students and volunteers. Marie keeps everything together. She makes sure everything is happening that needs to, makes sure everything is on schedule, keeps everyone happy, and makes sure everyone is contently fed, even those of with difficult dietary restrictions and fun allergies. Laura and Rick make sure everything that needs to happen with the project are happening, as well as solving any problems that arise, like distorted images and how to manage and maintain the boards when they are in two different locations. They are also the creators of Handshouse Studio and the masterminds behind the project. The Painting Team gets the project done, with the help of the students and volunteers. So here some names and faces to match to the pictures you have seen so far!

The Painting Team, a fun crew

So who's been doing what? Site management has been led up by Nick and the Loik-ness Monster, Jason. They make sure the gallery is protected from us and that everything has a place, and is safe. Panel reconstruction has been managed by Nick, the Jasons, and Rick. They have been taking all the boards and turning them into the panels for painting. Krista, Emily and Ariel have been taking care of preparing all the panels which means sizing all the boards before they get turned into panels, sanding numbers and marks off, and gessoing. Krista came up with a new recipe for the gesso, which now uses chalk and zinc oxide instead of marble dust because we learned that chalk was more commonly used in Poland. Rashin and Case have been doing all the pigment management, which means organizing and coming up with more accurate colors and ratios for the paints. We have gotten more information on the colors since the last set of paintings so there is a lot of new stuff to figure out. There are often changes as we get more information and learn more. I (Cailigh) have been doing a lot of the computer related tasks like formatting images to be high resolution full scaled images to the dimensions of the ceiling sections. Also making adjustments as needed, creating a log of all the boards and numbers, and the blog. Ariel and Laura have been working on the tracings to get as close to the original paintings as possible. Rick, Marie and Laura have been going shopping to make sure everyone has everything they need to get the project done.

These are the awesome students and volunteers that have been working on the project so far. Ola, Kasia, and Zofia are from the Museum.
The students and volunteers for the project have been great! Ali is no stranger to the painting having done a Handshouse workshop at Oberlin. The project is moving along at a great pace with all their help. The goal for this Workshop will be to do two zodiacs and two triangles. So far one triangle is fully traced, the second triangle tracing has been started, one zodiac is fully traced, and the second is over half done. Paint brushes will be able to come out soon! 

Ola, Kasia, and Zofia taught everyone a lot about Rzeszow and the Polish Jews who lived here before and during the War with a great presentation. It started with an interactive activity that involved exploring the area around the synagogue/gallery to give individuals a chance to reflect and discover places about the area that they were curious about. For the second part of the activity, everyone shared one of their observations and the three women answered questions and gave new insight on everything, and explained the different perspectives on the subject. For the second half they gave a presentation on Rzeszow itself and what happened here during the War. They gave three examples that were photographs and accounts of experiences of individuals.

Some of the observations from the first part of the activity

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Painting has Begun!

The site has been cleared, the boards packed up, and the rest of the team has arrived! We are now at the site of the first workshop, the BWA Gallery in Rzeszow. The building, which is now an art gallery, is a converted masonry synagogue. In case you missed it, a crane was brought in on the last day to take apart the structure which is now in storage mode at the Skansen in Sanok waiting to go to Warsaw.

The site on Group 2's first work day

Trusses in progress

The frame while the planking was being installed

The frame coming down

One of the bundles being prepared for storage

Half the boards being prepared for storage before they are moved to Warsaw

The frame is disassembled and under the two tents on the left, and all the ceiling boards are wrapped up under the tent on the right, waiting to make their journey to Rzeszow and Warsaw.
The boards for the dome and zodiac for the North and West Walls, the Northwest Pendentive and Triangle, and the Southwest Triangle.

Half the crew for painting, who also participated in the construction, and the driver.

The gallery space after we fully took it over.

Getting the glue and pigments set up and figuring out test boards.

Ariel and Emily sizing the boards with the rabbit skin glue to prep them for gesso.

Jason and Jason laying out the boards and turning them into panels, and Nick is checking in and lending a hand

Emily is making the rabbit skin glue to paint onto the boards

The pigments are getting organized

Some samples of the colors that will be used for the painting

The painting portion is now in full swing, and the painting leadership team is working hard to get everything together. For those who aren't to familiar with the ceiling murals there will be more information to follow.